Pete's Arboblog

According to my calendar, there's just about three weeks to go till the opening of spring ball! Woo-hoo!!!

So, how to kill time whilst looking for work? There had been a job offer to me and Jenny to do an all-purpose talk show locally, but due to some financial difficulty at said station, the offer fell through this past week, at least for the time being. Another station owner in town is looking for a way to get me in to his place, so I am hopeful on that front.

Sorry I have been delayed in writing this week's blog entry, although I'm pretty sure this is only a small piece of what you like to see when you come to WeAreSC.com.

Last Thursday's must win vs. Stanford in men's hoops was very exciting. The crowds continue to grow and impress, and it is highly likely that with the incoming freshmen class and the returning players who say they will be coming back, tickets at Galen are going to be a very hot commodity next season and beyond.

It was also interesting to watch Mayo catch on fire in the second half of his nationally televised game, even though his team lost on a missed three pointer at the end.

Nationally televised high school games?? Wow! Other than the Little League World Series, which most kids only dream of playing in every year on national TV, there aren't many youth sports events on TV nationwide. I remember being on Channel 4 during a high school basketball game in 1971, where Marshall played Roosevelt with Tommy Hawkins and Ross Porter calling the action. I did not play much on that team, but we were out in front, so coach put me in, and I hit three straight outside shots--had the hot hand—and Coach Kiwan took me out and said, as I walked to the bench wondering what I had done wrong: "hey, pretty lucky out there today!" Now that's great coaching!

Jenny had been gone all week on a business trip to Washington DC, where she is grant writing and raising funding for DCTV, a public access cable channel there that serves the low income kids who then mentor each other in teaching beginning broadcasting skills. She also teaches art here in LA through P.S. Arts, and keeps us alive financially during this tough time that is about to end.

I used some of my week alone to go to some high school basketball playoff games, and saw pieces of five or six of ‘em.

Saturday, went to the SC-Cal men's game to say goodbye (at least at Galen) to the seniors. A big win and a great finish for Penrose! Earlier in the day I went over and saw the SC-Tulane baseball game. Trojans pitching is looking strong.

Sunday Jenny and I ran in an 8-kilometer race near Brea-Olinda HS in OC. That's just shy of 5 miles. Lots of hills making it tough, but I came in under 50, she was in around 54. Felt pretty good, too. Getting faster and feeling better and still losing weight. Life is good!

After that we took the drive to John Hamilton's Sports Museum (again free admission, located in Fashion Island/Newport Beach) to deliver the first of many shipments of sports game programs. I continue to work on this project at home and have a second shipment just about ready to go. I figure 200 binders altogether by the time it's done. I have several oversized programs, just too thick to fit into the plastic sheets that are standard issue, so I have to custom order some larger ones.

This week I have gone through old Dodgers stuff, some Street and Smith's annuals and my collection of 1984 LA Olympic memorabilia. It takes more time to go through this stuff, as I like to stop and walk down memory lane when I see a particularly interesting item I have not seen in awhile.

You will really love going through this great stuff once it's all delivered and displayed this summer.

I recently was asked by one of the USC campus announcers to critique his work in basketball. Jonathan Horowitz is his name. You might see him doing games courtside for the internet (such as this weekend's USC women's games in the Pac-10 tournament). He called and thanked me and said that he has tried to get other announcers to take the time to do this for him, but most just send back small notes saying "keep up the good work" or some such. Granted, I have more than ample time on my hands right now to do this, but I have done so for many aspiring announcers in the past, and hope to be a mentor for up-and-comers in the future. I sent him three type written pages spelling out very specific ways for him to improve. Not that he needs to take any or all of them as gospel, but he was very gracious in his call to me, and we discussed other projects for which he might be suited. I actually thank him for the opportunity to be thought of in high enough regard to do this important piece of work in his career.

I only tried that twice…. in the early 70's Dick Enberg wrote me back there hand written pages of notes on a long legal pad, with many suggestions I was able to put to good use, and still do to this day. Chick Hearn was not as long winded but helpful. And I have discussed the craft with Vinny and when I worked with him, Ralph Lawler, who had many good suggestions as well.

I always felt, even when I was just getting started way back when, that I had a talent for play by play, maybe for having practiced it and studied the others so intently that I knew what worked and what didn't, generally. Then I had to practice it, and put it to the test to find out what worked for me and what didn't, before I finally was able to find a sense of "self" in the broadcasts, and stop sounding like a mish mash of other announcers.

I applied myself at LACC, and also at USC at the campus station, then got my first job in Twin Falls, Idaho, spinning country music from midnight to dawn, living in a small cold apartment rented me by the Program Director, but I got to do a couple of ball games in my short stay there, for the Buhl High School Indians, and the College of Southern Idaho.

Upon my return home, I landed my next gig in Victorville, as news and sports Director, and did more high school games, plus got our station to be on the Trojan Radio Network!

Next up was Visalia, then Porterville, where I worked for baseball hall of fame announcer Monte Moore doing every sport imaginable before moving on to Riverside, then to Sports Radio Network trying out formats for a new thing called all sports radio, and on to KNX, the Clippers and then being selected as Voice of the Trojans in 1989, just 9 years after entering professional radio.

I was anxious to get there, it was always my ultimate goal, and I was surprised and honored to get the job so early in my life.

At those smaller stations, I knew I was going to move on, despite the hopes and sometimes protestations of others I worked with. I tried to not stay in one of those places for too terribly long, and to always move up the ladder, never sideways.

Radio today, for sportscasters and others in general, is much more difficult to break into, due to the high national syndication rate at small town stations. There are precious few stations in small markets that do local programming, making it very tough for medium and then large market stations to find polished talent any more. Most PD's in the larger markets have to take chances with untested air talent, or those who sound under qualified, like they haven't had the seasoning it takes to make it to the big leagues. It's bad for the talent involved and really bad for the listeners.

I, and the others of my general age, had pretty much a blast, despite some of the out-of-the-way places we worked, in getting our on-the-job training. I wouldn't trade it (well, maybe some of it) for anything. But I'm sure glad I am where I am. What a life, what a great job!

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If the women of Troy basketball team wins their opening game of the Pac-10 tournament this Saturday. I think they get into the NCAA tournament. They finished fifth in the Pac-10 regular season, and are playing fourth place Washington. A win would mean beating the Lady Dogs (!!??) two of three this year, and since we're hosting I think it's a done deal. A loss, and it might mean a road game in the women's NIT, which would not be all bad considering the seasoning it would bring the gaggle of young talent on the team.

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This Saturday is opening day for the Santa Monica Pony League Twins (Bronco Division) for which I am a coach. 11 am ceremonies, 3:45 game time.

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Did you see Shaq hand the Miami Heat autographed ball to Bush? Bush then, standing for a photo op, opts to try and dribble the ball, which he finds to be udnerinflated. It plops to the ground, and barely rises back up. He reaches for it, and flinches then goes back to the photo. Pretty funny, no matter your political convictions.

Talk to you next week---Fight ON!


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